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2016 News and Information

King of the Sea sailing to Richmond for Canada 150

25 May 2016

Kaiwo MaruRichmond will host one of the world’s largest tall ships next May, when Japan’s Kaiwo Maru returns to Steveston Harbour as part of the City’s Canada 150 festivities. Known as the King of the Sea, the four-masted, naval training tall ship, measures in at more than110 metres (360-feet) in length, with a main mast that is 43.5 metres (143 feet) tall and will be carrying a crew of 200 Japanese sail and maritime training cadets.

“The Kaiwo Maru is a spectacular tall ship and we’re honoured that she will be making a rare international voyage to visit Richmond to help celebrate our nation’s 150th birthday,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Richmond is proud of the many contributions made to our community by Japanese immigrants since they were arrived here in the late 1880s. 2017 also marks key milestones for Japanese immigration to BC and to Richmond, so it’s especially fitting that this visit will allow us to celebrate our mutual history together.”

The Kaiwo Maru is due to arrive in Richmond on May 3, 2017 and will be docked at Garry Point Park until her departure on May 8, 2017. During its visit, the ship will be available for three days of free boarding and tours. While docked, the crew will also stage the popular Sail Drill, in which dozens of members of the crew climb high into the four masts to lower and raise its 36 sails, which in total comprise 2,760 square metres (29,700 square feet) of sail.

A cultural festival in Garry Point Park will coincide with the Kaiwo Maru’s visit and will include free live entertainment, family friendly activities, a food fair and more.

Formal agreement for the Kaiwo Maru’s visit was finalized during a recent visit to Japan by a City of Richmond delegation led by Coun. Bill McNulty. Used by the federal Japan Agency of Maritime Education and Training for Seafarers to teach sailing skills, the Kaiwo Maru has rarely sailed abroad in recent years, but repeated visits by Richmond succeeded in securing agreement for a rare trans-Pacific voyage.

While in Japan, the delegation was also able to meet in person with representatives of several other tall ships at the annual Nagasaki tall ship festival to invite them to also visit Richmond during 2017.  The delegation also visited Richmond’s Japanese Sister City of Wakayama to finalize plans for upcoming official visits by the Wakayama Sister City Committee, including members of the Wakayama Council to Richmond. Many of Richmond’s large Japanese-Canadian community trace their ancestry back to the Wakayama Prefecture.

A year-long city-wide calendar of festivals and other special events is being planned by the city of Richmond to celebrate Canada 150.  Throughout the year, visits from Canadian, American and international tall ships will mark Canada’s sesquicentennial and Richmond’s maritime heritage. 
A number of existing popular annual events such as the Children’s Arts Festival, Ships to Shore Steveston, Richmond Maritime Festival and Richmond World Festival will return and be enhanced and/or expanded for 2017.

New events for 2017 will include:

  • Canada Day Street Festival in Steveston Village;
  •  Wooden Boat Festival;
  •  Pioneer Luncheon, honouring long-term Richmond residents;
  •  Music in the Plaza,  a series of outdoor concerts on the City Hall and  Richmond Cultural Centre plazas; and
  • Harvest Festival, celebrating Richmond’s agricultural heritage.

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